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September 25, 2021

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Nevada judge issues formal stay of execution pending appeals

Nevada Execution Chamber

Cathleen Allison / AP

This March 22, 2001, file photo shows the execution chamber at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.

A Nevada state judge has issued his formal stay of execution for a convicted killer of four people whose lethal injection would be the first in the state in 15 years.

Clark County District Court Judge Michael Villani’s written order, issued Tuesday, followed a June 28 ruling by a federal judge in Las Vegas that stopped the state’s plan to put Zane Michael Floyd to death in late July.

Appeals also are pending before the Nevada Supreme Court and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Defendant is entitled to a stay ... to allow him to seek appellate review,” the state court document said.

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II in Las Vegas is scheduled on Friday to hear from attorneys for Floyd and the state about the constitutionality of a never-before-used sequence of drugs that prison officials want to use for the execution.

Floyd, 45, was convicted of killing four people and wounding a fifth in a 1999 shotgun attack at a Las Vegas grocery store.

He does not want to die, and his lawyers argue the lethal injection plan would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Boulware has blocked the execution until at least Oct. 18. He plans hearings the week of Oct. 4.